Alternatives to Accreditation: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 5)

Now that we have established that parental ignorance of the systemic use of accreditation, largely motivated by the increased funding associated with it, is to blame for the normalization of public school credits at home, I would like to provide an alternative to public accreditation.

Once the accumulation of “high school” credits is started, whether at home or at school, there is no turning back, as anything short of the full completion of all requirements for a high school diploma deems the student a dropout, much the same as the GED does.

That is, if a student earns a single credit either through school or a school-based program, a provincial transcript is created that is attached to the individual’s Alberta Student Number (ASN).

Parents should be warned that home education providers who offer high school credits usually do not reveal this information, as it is not in their best interest.

While it is imperative that parents understand that accreditation is not essential to successfully transition to the post-secondary level, it is also important to note that to seek accreditation is to embark on the most demanding and frustrating option for the secondary level of a home education.

This is due to the challenge of trying to complete a program designed to be delivered by a teacher in a school, forcing students and parents to jump through the hoops required to complete a high school program.

Parents or students motivated by wanting to outperform regular school attendees at school programming, need to consider that demonstrating the ability to do better at school work, comes with questionable benefits.

Students “schooling at home” place themselves in competition for post-secondary admission with every other accredited student. Since it is more difficult to “honestly” do better with “school work” at home than at school, students often find themselves handicapped with lower marks.

Also, if the focus of the family faith is biblical, parents should be aware that the accreditation route does not follow biblical principles.

Christian parents should, therefore, be concerned when a school claiming to be “Christian” offers public programming as an incentive to attend or register with their institution.

Parents should also be wary of schools and home education providers “pretending” to meet the course requirements in order to award credits. Although doing so greatly benefits the school, students rarely complete the requirements for a high school diploma and usually do not merit the marks required for post-secondary admission using this approach.

Whether credits are honestly or dishonestly obtained at school or at home, public accreditation returns us to the secular world for our future direction, acknowledging the state as lord of our education.

It is far better and easier to allow a student to be who God has created than fitting him or her into the “one-size-fits-all” expectations demanded by those who know nothing of the child.

Completing secondary training at home, without government accreditation, is a much better option because there is no time wasted on subjects that are not needed. Students are allowed to be comfortable with who they are, can specialize early and by the time they are old enough to drive, are usually ready for the world to receive them.

Meanwhile, their school friends are putting in time awaiting the day when they are paroled from the institution with no greater access to post-secondary options than those who chose to continue their preparations at home without the burden of meeting that which is required for accreditation.

Even though most post-secondary institutions will advise that credits are needed for admission, (due to the fact that most applicants come with a school-based education), most usually have alternative admission criteria that take alternative students, including the home educated, into account.

Alternative students following alternative home education curricula that more closely compares to first year post-secondary programs than to a school grade 12, have a definite advantage over standard school students.

When taking into account the fact that the traditional home educated, who have been given the freedom and opportunity to advance at their own speed, in keeping with what interests them, usually have a higher level of maturity and a more highly developed work ethic, it becomes easier to understand why most excel at the post-secondary level.

So, is there a need for government accreditation at the high school level? No! Alternative students use alternative methods to gain access to post-secondary opportunities, whatever that may be.

Once ready, post-pubescent students will begin to show signs of ownership and self-motivation, resulting in a great deal of learning usually taking place in a very short time. This should be the parent’s cue to back off from “programming” and allow the child to mould into their future, without neglecting to provide new opportunities for learning.

Finally, please understand that only in a traditional home education setting, can a student truly follow an individualized program which cannot be obtained through public accreditation.

To Be or Not To Be Accredited: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Finishing Strong (Part 4)

To be or not to be accredited? That is the question most people ponder as their children enter the secondary phase of their education.

Mostly as a consequence of having our eyes focused on the future rather than eternity, we quickly default to the only known solution for future preparation, which is government accreditation.

I do not believe there is a home education issue more plagued with misinformation and manipulative traps than this one, and there will be no lack of encouragement to go the credit route.

There are three main reasons that this concern arises. The first is, unfortunately, your doing! Another is systemic. And then there is… the money!

Going to school has become so normalized, so entrenched, so unquestioned as the only way to educate children that the mere suggestion of doing otherwise often brings confusion, laughter, derision, even open hostility. After all, when you are doing something differently your actions are saying that you believe there is a better way, without even saying a word.

The possibility of damaging your children’s potential future options, whether real or perceived, creates real fears and concerns that will challenge your resolve to continue to teach your children at home.

After all, your initial motivation was to provide them with the best preparation for their future. Now that it is here, what are you going to do? It is much easier to simply “go with the flow” and default back to doing what you have experienced and to follow what most everybody else is doing.

The second reason that accreditation arises at this stage is the systemic belief that only government accreditation can qualify students to move on to the post-secondary arena.

Once again, it is important to understand that when only one choice is presented, people come to understand that this is the only option.

Made worse by our being continually discouraged from questioning what we are being told, accreditation is believed to be the only way a student can succeed in life.

All that needs to happen to break free from this manipulative systemic belief is for people to question why this is so and to come to understand that while government accreditation is most certainly the accepted standard, it is not the only approach available to home educators.

To understand how money can often be the driving force behind the normalization and advancement of the need for government accreditation, one needs to know that up until the “high school level” is reached, Alberta funds students on the basis of attendance. This means that from school grades K-9, a registered child is a funded child.

Once the high school level is reached, funding is no longer based on attendance, but rather on the number of credits being offered in the child’s program. Even if the child fails the course, funding is advanced to the school for having made the accredited course available.

The only exception to this rule is if students are home educated, in which case funding is still based on attendance (registration) and at the same rate as K-9 students.

To successfully complete a high school level program, a student must acquire a minimum of 100 credits. The actual prescription of what is needed to acquire a high school diploma can be found by going to

This complicated website address alone should show you that to accomplish this feat, one is best to simply attend school!

One more thing to consider with “high school” level programming, is the fact that while home education funding remains at 25% of the base funding to public schools, credits are funded at the same rate as public school (100%) or private schools (70%).

One does not have to be a mathematician to understand that to offer or advance credits will triple or quadruple the income of the school that “helps” the parents with “their” accreditation concerns!

Therefore, when you combine the fact that most parents have only experienced “high school” using government programming, likely never having been exposed to possible alternatives; with the fact that the vast majority of Alberta students follow government accreditation, adding to that, the powerful lure of much higher levels of funding, it becomes easier to understand why accumulating credits is so commonly advanced by providers as the only possible way to complete a secondary level education.

While the Godless, status quo education system can be forgiven for pushing an agenda that benefits itself, one has to question the motivation of private schools and their associated home education agencies. How can they justify claiming a Christian foundation, then take advantage of unsuspecting parental ignorance by advancing the much higher paying credits of a Godless, unbiblical, anti-Christian system?

More importantly, we should ask how anyone claiming a biblical foundation can exploit the ignorance of the people they are supposed to help, encourage and instruct. I believe Christians and Christian schools should be advancing God’s accreditation rather than the world’s, even if it pays less.

How Can I Teach High School? Fears and Concerns Series (Part 7)

I must admit that whenever we see our secondary students sent to public programming, whether physically to school or online to “get their diploma” or to “get their credits” or to “prepare them for post-secondary,” I am deeply disappointed.

I wonder where we went wrong, and how we could have prevented this calamity. I also question how parents can so quickly give up their faith and trust in God to put their confidence in man, especially when most people know what little personal benefit they actually got out of school.

We do everything we can to help, support and encourage parents and students to continue with the superior option of home education, but we are but one voice in a crowd of people driven by fear. Stories of the failure of unaccredited home education are abundant, but hardly accurate, yet they have great influence on people who do not know any better.

Bad news travels fast. The enemy specializes in bad news and if he can get students away from parents, he has a far greater potential to negatively influence them. Parents should be keeping their children home where they can protect them, not only physically, but ideologically as well.

Please pay close attention to the following statement: Students do not need high school accreditation or diplomas to be successful in life or to gain admission to post-secondary institutions.

All they need is a personalized education that will uniquely serve them in their lives. And this is only possible when completing their secondary level education at home within the family.

Admittedly, when children go through puberty and start the secondary stage of learning, determining to continue the education at home may lead you to our next concern. When reaching higher levels of learning, parents often express their fear of not being able to teach their children at this more complex level.

If this is one of your fears or concerns, I have good news for you. You don’t have to. In fact, you’re fired! Just kidding, but not really. Think about it this way.

When children reach young adulthood and take ownership of their education, they can continue learning in ways and means that you may never have experienced or imagined. This is where home education really starts to show its superiority.

Home education is not playing school but providing opportunity for learning, and when the children start finding their own opportunities, your job is done. Maybe not entirely done, but your job description will certainly change. Your role transitions from being the teacher to being a mentor. You will now need to slowly get out of the way and encourage them to teach themselves.

After all, you are not the one that needs to learn the algebra, or the biology, or the economics, or whatever it is they are studying. They do. You may be required to assist your children on occasion, but you should not have to teach them. Let them do it. Let them discover it. Leave them to learn it, in their way, at their own pace. Students given this freedom usually accomplish much more in far less time than their school peers.

Of course, there’s always that couch potato or sloth, but he’s not common and the condition is usually not permanent. Usually this comes as a phase of puberty when all the energy seems to be going into growing a body. Indeed, they may seem to be losing more than they are gaining for a while, especially boys, whose favourite subjects may become sleeping and eating during this time, but this phase eventually passes.

Breaking free from the school method and giving the students the control over their education empowers them to take responsibility and to develop what God has created. It actually gets easier for the parents as the students take on more complicated concepts.

I have seen home education fail at this secondary stage. However, this is usually when the student either goes to school, brings school home, or when the parents attempt to mimic a school approach to programming.

When considering that school specializes in one-size-fits-all programming, having anything to do with school at this phase essentially eliminates the very advantages to home education.

Students do not need to learn all the subjects nor all the levels or concepts within each subject. It should make sense that to tailor the program to the student’s ability and interests will save a lot of valuable time and allow for early maturation and specialization.

There is no need to fear not being able to teach secondary level students. They can teach themselves. In fact, that was the secret to my success as a high school teacher. I directed my students. I encouraged them to take responsibility for their education and I helped them get it.

I consistently got better results than my colleagues and received innumerable “thank you’s” from students for having taught them how to learn, but actually all I had done was to expect them to learn and master the concepts. Even as a high school teacher, I got to the point where I rarely taught! And the results were obvious!

What Should Be Done About High School? Fears and Concerns Series (Part 6)

Once a child enters puberty, along with all the changes that this brings to the family, a new concern arises that often grows into a fear. Indeed, it is probably the greatest, most universal fear within the home education community. In fact, this fear is likely the single biggest reason for the collapse and failure of home education programs.

What about high school? What about accreditation? What about obtaining a high school diploma? And, from the child’s perspective, what about friends? Within all these concerns there is an overarching concern that will increase when reaching the fourth level of our fears and concerns for home education.

That is, before embarking on our home education journey, most people want assurance that their efforts will lead to good results. We want to best provide for our children’s post-secondary futures. Once parents get past this initial concern, it seems to go away, until the children reach puberty, when it returns in full force.

This is the stage where all the original reasons for home educating seem to be buried with a greater concern for the future. Lacking the full understanding of what a “high school” level education is and that the alternatives to a regular high school education are actually much better, parents often abandon their original resolve to keep their children out of harm’s way and send their children to be “finished off” in high school.

This may have merit when we apply this to raising cattle, where we send them to the feedlot to be “finished off” before being butchered, but it has no application to students when given serious thought and consideration.

What has actually changed when considering the original reason for having decided to home educate in the first place? Likely nothing, except that the children are older and more likely to be expressing more of their own personal opinions.

You wanted the best education for them. Nothing has changed. You wanted them to be properly exposed to the truth. Nothing has changed. You wanted to be with them to form a solid family unit where siblings grow up to be each other’s best friends. Nothing has changed.

You kept them home because you loved them and desired to do as God had directed. Nothing has changed, unless of course, the world has convinced you to trust it with the children it never created rather than the God who did. Sort of like when the apostle Paul questioned the Galatians, who having begun in the spirit, now foolishly considered being perfected by the flesh.

And you desired to give them the best possible tools and position from which to successfully move on to a fulfilling life. Nothing has changed.

Home education is still the very best way to prepare students for their individual lives. School grouping cannot provide the best environment for a student to develop as an individual. The family has always been the place where children can be who they are without all the extra pressures and indoctrination that comes with school. Again, nothing has changed.

Puberty is when a child starts to really look at the world. Not just their own personal little planet, but what the universe has to offer. It is the stage in their lives where others, outside of the family, will start to have increasingly more influence in their lives, and likely the time when children will start to question the validity of their home education.

This is when, unaware of what school is really about, they may make some noise about going to school to get an accredited education, leading to a high school diploma, and there will be no end to the false information designed to have you believe that man and his institutions can do better than God and His directives.

What students are really wanting at this stage of their lives is to get out of the home. The simple solution here is to let them out; to provide new and stimulating things for learning and opportunities for socializing with others, yet always with the full knowledge that most others will do what they can to undermine your resolve to prepare your own children for their futures.

Even though these young adults can be very convincing at times, parents still need to parent. Young adults hardly have more insight or wisdom than parents.

As long as the child is under your roof, you still have some say in their lives, especially when just entering their adult lives. It is true that you need to treat them as adults, but that is only so when they are conducting themselves as adults.

Children have even less information about how attending school will likely retard their education than parents do. This is not the time to let them make uninformed and potentially life altering decisions.

Should parents keep the student home yet decide to follow public programming, the concerns regarding school based social issues may be taken care of, but the child is still exposed to all that comes with the secular public programming and is now more under the tutelage of strangers than of the parents.